Biden’s Inaugural Address
In Biden’s first address as president, he repeatedly referred to the work that would need to be done to not only resolve physical challenges such as the coronavirus, but also more spiritual or ideological issues such as racism, nativism, fear, and demonization that Biden believes have torn us apart and cost us our unity as a people.
“Today we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of the cause of democracy,” Biden said as he emphasized the need for Americans to work toward unity.
Referring to the storming of the Capitol Building two weeks ago, Biden said we still have “much to repair; much to restore; much to heal.” But, he promised, there is also “much to gain.” Biden asked “every American” to join him in the cause of uniting the nation. The forces that divide us “are deep and real,” Biden said, but they are not new.
The president promised he would be a “president for all Americans” and that he would “fight” just as hard for those who did not vote for him as for those who did. Referring to the work of St. Augustine, Biden said people are defined by the common objects of their love. In America, those objects are opportunity, security, liberty, dignity, respect, and truth, Biden said.
Speaking of truth, Biden also said we “must reject the culture where facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured,” to applause from the crowd.
Another challenge Biden spent time addressing was the “cry for racial justice” that has come to the forefront of the country’s consciousness once again. Biden said we need to confront the threat of white supremacy and systemic racism. “The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer,” Biden declared.
Speaking of the “once-in-a-century virus,” Biden warned the country is “entering into what may be the toughest and deadliest phase of the [coronavirus].” Biden paused his speech to allow for a moment of silent prayer for “those who lost their lives and those they left behind.”
Concluding his speech on several notes of hope, Biden said he promised to defend the Constitution, defend America, and “defend all of you.” Biden also said America would “stand once again as a beacon to the world.”
The Inauguration Ends on Hopeful Note
After Biden’s address, country music singer Garth Brooks sang “Amazing Grace.”
Poet Amanda Gorman delivered a spoken word poem about finding light in dark times. Gorman is only 22 years old and stirred the crowd with her words.
The benediction was given by Bethel AME Pastor Silvester Beaman. Like O’Donovan, Beaman is also a family friend of the Bidens and serves a church in Wilmington, Delaware.
Beaman asked for “divine favor” for the president, first lady Jill Biden, Harris, and her husband, Doug Emhoff. Beaman asked for God’s help as the nation does things like seeking out the wounded and binding up their wounds, mourning the dead, and seeking the good “in and for our neighbors.” Beaman also asked for help extending opportunity to those “locked out” of opportunity. Beaman emphasized that in God “we discover our humanity and in our humanity our commonness.”